Preparation and submission of claims and invoices
All claims and invoices related to research are prepared and submitted by Post-award staff. However, the staff will always liaise closely with the relevant researcher in order to ensure that the claim / invoice amounts are correct, and that any agreed milestones have been completed. All project income raised will be credited to the unique project financial code.
Where a sponsor requires the University to submit periodic invoices, Post-Award will arrange for the relevant invoices to be raised and submitted. Invoices for a fixed, previously agreed cost will be submitted without consultation with the principal investigator (PI). Invoices for actual costs will be raised in consultation with and agreement from the PI. In order to avoid missing any submission deadlines (and therefore minimising the risk of non-payment of our invoice), if the PI has not provided a response regarding the actual cost figures, the invoice will be submitted using the figures as shown on the financial ledger for the relevant period.
All claims, be they periodic or final, will be submitted by Post-Award in close consultation with the PI.
Draft claim figures will be provided to the PI, who will be asked to review the transactions in detail, and to highlight any errors / omissions. Once the final figures have been agreed, Post-Award will prepare the relevant claim form, arrange for it to be signed by one of the University’s authorised signatories, and submit it to the project sponsor.
In the case of Research Council expenditure statements (interim or final), the procedure in agreeing the figures with the PI is as above. However, the submission process through the JeS portal is as follows:
a) Figures agreed with PI
b) Expenditure statement assigned to relevant Post-Award officer from the relevant JeS document pool
c) Expenditure statement completed and ‘verified’ by Post-Award officer
d) A copy of the statement is requested and, once received (via email) printed for a file copy
e) The statement is returned to the document pool
f) Post-Award officer will email a ‘submitter’ (Research Support Manager / Deputy Head of DRI etc.) requesting that they submit the expenditure statement
g) ‘Submitter’ will submit the document, and forward the relevant confirmation email to the Post-Award officer.
Invoicing relating to Awards received for ‘Other Services Rendered’ (Consultancy)
In cases where a sponsor for other services rendered requires the University to submit an invoice, it is the relevant school / department’s responsibility to raise an invoice request form and submit it to the Finance department. However, DRI will monitor the timetable for such invoices and will provide the PI with reminders where necessary.
In cases where the project sponsor has agreed to make regular payments without the need for invoices / claim forms (i.e. ‘profiled payments’), Post-Award will monitor the income to ensure it matches the agreed and contracted payment schedule.
Once an invoice has been raised and submitted to the project sponsor, it represents a debt owed to the University. Responsibility for chasing outstanding debts initially resides within the Post-award section. However, if initial attempts to recover a debt fail, Post-award will involve the relevant researcher and school.
Liaison with project sponsors
In certain circumstances project sponsors prefer to discuss contract amendments via an administrative department (some sponsors insisted upon this). In these cases Post-award staff will liaise with a sponsor on behalf of the researcher. We will also liaise with sponsors on general, non-project specific issues.
Provision of advice on the interpretation of a project sponsor’s terms and conditions
All project sponsors will have terms and conditions associated with their funding that must be adhered to. The Post-award staff have considerable experience of interpreting these terms and conditions, and can provide guidance where any uncertainty exists.
Liaison with internal / external auditors
Sponsors wish to know that their funds are being correctly spent on a project. Therefore, they will occasionally instruct auditors to review the project finances (n.b. some sponsors insist that audits are carried out on each project they fund). In these cases, Post-award staff will host the auditor, and provide them with the information and documents requested. Please note, the auditor may wish to speak to the researcher or other administrative staff, and on these occasions the relevant Post-award officer will arrange this.
Most sponsors reserve the right to perform an audit of projects that they fund. Further to this, a number of sponsors insist (via their terms and conditions) that financial and / or procedural audits are carried out on each and every project they sponsor. This means that from time-to-time DRI host external auditors. They are given full access to the financial records of the University relating to the project that they are auditing and receive the full assistance of DRI staff. Such auditors may wish to speak to staff in academic or other administrative support departments, and on these occasions DRI will liaise with departments to arrange this.
The Project Budget Monitoring tool acts as a portal to the financial system and provides a real-time budget statement.
It is extremely important that projects are not run at a deficit (i.e. overspend the budget), as this would have a detrimental impact on the relevant College.
Post-award will help researcher to manage their project finances and our staff regularly monitor projects for issues that may give rise for concern. We can provide ad-hoc support and explain transactions appearing on the project code, provide up-to-date details on the financial position on your project, and forecasts on known future staffing commitments.
However it must be stressed that each researcher must be pro-active in the financial management of their projects.
Provision of statistics on research and ‘other services rendered’ activity.
The Post-award can provide management information to all interested parties on awarded research and other services rendered (consultancy) activity. We provide the KPI data for the annual PDR reviews.
- Budget monitoring – Advice and explanation of transactions, and monitoring tools
- European and Major Project support – Claim cycle, WEFO submission, DRI support
- Claims and Invoicing – preparation of claims and invoices and obtaining the cash from your Awarding bodies
- Debt collection
- Eligibility of expenditure
- Policies and Procedures – Defining your responsibilities, Document retention, European Handbooks
- Audits – liaison with internal and external auditors, what to expect.
- Liaison with Sponsoring bodies
- Interpretation and advice regarding Sponsor Terms and Conditions
- Key Performance Indicators and Management Information
- Policies and procedures – Financial policies, Document retention, Major Projects Framework